The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

BSA’s “Sunday’s Best” gospel competition takes the Dawg House to church

Jenn McFadden

BSA’s ‘Sunday’s Best’ brings gospel competition to campus.

On Sept. 24, Mississippi State University’s Black Student Association hosted its first “Sunday’s Best” competition.

“Sunday’s Best” was originally a televised Gospel music competition which aired on Black Entertainment Television from 2007 to 2015. Like the show, the BSA’s version was a gospel singing contest with its own panel of musical judges, ranging from teaching professionals to students.

One judge was Alexia Leavy who, while in a meeting with the executive board, eagerly volunteered to be a part of the panel. She gave some insight on what being a judge entailed.

“We scored contestants’ tone quality, pitch accuracy, key consistency, interaction with the audience and their overall delivery,” Leavy said. “These points were added up by the president of Black Voices. Those who placed in the competition scored high, either a 4 or 5, in all categories.”

As the competition began, the Dawg House sparked with positive and supportive energy fueled from competitors and audience members alike. Everyone swayed and clapped to the rhythms of the songs, with many singing along.

“Everyone was enjoying themselves,” Leavy said. “The audience supported the performers no matter what. It was just a very welcoming and enjoyable event.”

The audience showed its support to the singers in many different ways. If a competitor had to pause due to nerves or emotion, the crowd cheered in support just as loudly as they did when a singer hit an incredibly difficult note or made a superb vocal run.

Marsei “Sei” Hogan, another audience member at the event, said being in the crowd was a unique experience.

“It made me feel energized,” Hogan said. “It was a very diverse crowd and brought people together.”

MC Brandon Horton’s charisma added to the fun and enjoyable atmosphere.

He made many a reference to feeling like he was worshipping with the same energy he has in church. Horton also joked the more “hype” songs performed were “going to make him cut up.” 

“I think he might have given Kirk Franklin, the host of the actual BET show, a run for his money,” Leavy said.
From the views of the judges, MC and audience, the event was an absolute hit. While some of the competitors said they were nervous, they were all able to overcome the difficulties of performing on stage.
Wallace Bass, who won third place in the competition, said audiences are generally encouraging.

“I’m nervous every single time I perform, but I know that when it’s time to hit the stage, you do what you practiced and stay calm because the audience is there to support you, not to bring you down,” Bass said.

All singers had their own routines and practices to get ready for the big event, be it certain warm-ups or humming in between classes. Practice is always key to a good performance, and Bass certainly showed how much he practiced for Sunday. 

“I practiced a hundred times on my own, but I also asked a few members of Black Voices Gospel Choir, Kristen Ashford, Destinee Ashford and Jadarius Flagg, for a helping hand and they gave helpful tips and techniques for the arrangement of my piece,” Bass said.

Even the most rehearsed singers need the support of the crowd to do well, and fortunately for Bass and the other competitors, the crowd was supportive of all the performers. 
“For me, Sunday’s Best was so much fun and the energy of the crowd was so loving and positive,” Bass said.

Leavy said the event exceeded all expectations.

“I would love to see and attend another event like Sunday’s Best,” Leavy said. “If there was anything I would change it would be to have even more amazing contestants.”

Leavy said she hopes people will remember the message behind Sunday’s Best.

“1 Peter 4:10 says that as faithful stewards of God’s grace, each of us should use whatever gifts we have received to serve others,” Leavy said. “The message I want Sunday’s Best to convey is that your talent is not without purpose, so be generous with the gift that God has given you.”

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BSA’s “Sunday’s Best” gospel competition takes the Dawg House to church